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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Another double blog entry, conveniently dealing with two comparable events. While I was down in London for my Morris Pert recital at Schott's, I was engaged to take part in an event at Woodend Barn, Banchory as part of the 2013 Sound Festival-the remarkable festival of contemporary music focussed in Aberdeen annually in November. This particular event was a performance-Installation in the form of a group improvisation by members of the illustrious Red Note Ensemble with local musicians under the direction of Glaswegian resident artist Torsten Lauschmann.The installation was called"Inconsistent Whisper": 9 instruments improvised within certain parameters indicated by different coloured lights as operated by the artist. My instrument on this occasion was the melodica, the others being 2 recorders,2 guitars,saxophone, cello,percussion and an example of the first Yamaha instrument: a small harmonium. Just over a month later I played a Clavinova in piano mode in another performance-installation at Arbroath's Hospitalfield House: this was the first Scottish appearance of Bedfordshire based (but curiously Scottish named) Andy Holden. His "8 short pieces in time" accompanied films and animations. Local musicians played strings and clarinet under the direction of Robert Dick,conductor of Dundee Symphony Orchestra. The music was in a generally minimalist idiom, and included a quartet which alluded to Messiaen's famous work for the same forces, but from a Satiesque angle.

Yesterday I had my first musical outing of 2014 with a recital of Bach piano transcriptions in the Episcopal Cathedral in Aberdeen, a month after a recital of Wagner organ transcriptions at the same venue on St Andrew's day. Despite being born in the Bach town of Leipzig, Wagner wrote no organ music, so for this 200th anniversary organ recital I repeated the Lemare Parsifal transcriptions I had played in Dundee earlier in the year. Between them I finally managed to perform Ronald Stevenson's Fugue on the Shepherd's Air from Tristan: a piece I had cancelled on a number of occasions over the previous 5 years. In fact, the fugue,which is dedicated to Wagner expert Derek Watson, also includes quotes from the Tristan prelude and material from Parsifal, bringing a carry special unity to the programme. Yesterday's piano pieces were the Bach/Brahms Chacconne for left hand and Glasgow native Eugen d'Albert's version of the Passacaglia and Fugue: d'Albert is the dedicatee of Busoni's 2hand version of the Chacconne.Between these 2 cathedrals in sound I played a transcription of the Orgelbuchlein prelude " O Mensch Bewein" by another Glaswegian, Archibald M Henderson, a largely forgotten figure whose teachers included Busoni and Widor, and who served as organist of Glasgow University for over 50 yearz, playing into the 1950s. He is mentioned in John Purser's recent biography of Erik Chisholm, another son of the Dear Green Place.